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WHELK SHELLS are not as plentiful as they once were along our beaches.
The Missing Shells
PHOTO BY Bill FAVER
BY BILL FAVER
One of the questions I hear a lot is, "Where are all
the shells?" It would seem from
conversations with beach residents
and visitors alike that we have
fewer and fewer shells on our
beaches each year.
I. too, can remember when we
could expect a broad expanse of
shells along the high tide line dur
ing the fall and winter months. I
wish I knew the answer to where
they have gone.
FAVER part of the answer must rest with
the movement of sand in the ocean currents. Empty
shells (skeletons of the animals who once inhabited
them) get buried in the moving sand and are not
washed ashore as they are when the sand is more sta
ble. Too, the movement may cause changes in habitat
of the mollusks living in the ocean off the beach, caus
ing them to move to other places.
Some of the answer has to do with the fact that
more people visit our beaches and collect the shells
that do wash up. Only the very early risers get to see
what the nightime tides left up. And most of us feel
very lucky if we find a sanddollar or a starfish or an
olive or tulip someone has not discovered before us!
Sad to ponder, but we have overcollected some
species and may have caused them to disappear from
our coast. Uncontrolled pollution of our inland waters
may also cause a loss of some species. Storms change
sandbars and ocean currents; dredging takes its toll;
beach renourishment changes things. As necessary as
some of these measures may be, we should not be sur
prised to see their impact on shells, birds, and even
Count your blessings the next time you have a good
shelling day. Take only the best specimens and remem
ber other folks would like to find some, too, so don't
be greedy! Perhaps we can look back on these lean
shelling days and remember when it was a real treat to
find a fine specimen of our native shells.
When Bear Meets
Bubba, It's Tragic
BY UNDA INGRAM
Enclosed is a letter I wrote
through the eyes of my cat "Bear."
I'm writing this because I think peo
ple need to be made aware of gun
control, or the lack of it, I should
We live in Forest Hills subdivi
sion near Holden Beach. There is a
person who lives just outside the
subdivision, and his property abuts
the road we live on. There are a lot
of families who come here for the
weekend, and many of us live here
Our neighbor likes to shoot in the
woods that runs along our street. He
doesn't seem to care where he aims.
Sometimes the blasts are so loud and
close, they make your ears ring.
Last Thursday my cat was shot
while roaming through those woods.
(Brunswick County) Animal Control
and the sheriff's department cannot
do anything about it, even though I
was home and heard the shot, knew
where it came from, and shortly af
ter found my cat with his face torn
half off. The veterinarian confirmed
it was indeed a bullet wound.
It is a felony to shoot a domestic
animal, but you must actually see it
happen. If I had seen it through all
those trees, they could have done
something. Of course, if any of his
stray bullets should damage my
property, I can file a civil suit
What has us and our next-door
neighbors really concerned is the
safety of the rest of our animals,
children and anyone of us who may
get in this person's way. If the day
ever happens, and surely it will, will
the county then decide to make
more strict and enforceable laws
concerning shooting in populated ar
eas? We'd like to get some action
started before a real tragedy occurs,
and not after.
Please read the following letter,
and maybe you would like to print it
for your readers.
(don 't know your real name, but it
Hi! Bet you're real surprised to
hear from me. I know as you read on
you'll remember me quite well. We
met last Thursday afternoon while 1
was enjoying the sunny day playing
in the woods behind your house.
It 's a great place to hunt, and no
body loves to hunt better than / do.
Maybe I should not have intruded
on your property, but there were no
signs warning me to keep out, and
the area was plentiful with squirrels
and mice, which are two of my fa
vorite things to hunt.
I wasn 7 going to hunt your birds,
because I know you shoot them for
your kitty to eat. You said so one day
when my owner got mad at you for
shooting in the woods. I'm surprised
your kitty can't catch his own birds
because, like me, I know he loves to
hunt. Cats are the best hunters of
I heard your footsteps coming to
ward me, so I thought I'd stop and
say hello. I'm a very friendly and
trusting little guy. I know a couple of
months ago you tried to shoot my
dog, because we saw you and my
owner yelled. You even said you'd
try and shoot him again.
Boy, if they knew then what they
know now, I'd be feeling better right
now because you'd be in jail. Oh,
what the heck, I'm not a dog, I won't
try and chase your cat. I'm in no
trouble, am I? Maybe I can teach
your cat how to hunt his own game
and we could be friends and roam
through the woods together.
Well, I guess I was wrong about
you, Bubba. I'm usually a good
judge of character, especially when
it comes to hunters. Why did you
have to shoot me? I meant you no
harm. God, the pain, and I was so
full of blood all over my pretty face
and the front of my white coat.
I had to get home. You started
looking for me. Now I feared you.
You wanted to finish me off so no
one would know what you did.
Lucky for me, I turned because the
vet said you were trying to shoot me
right between my big green eyes.
I thought you 'd like to know I did
make it home, and my owners took
one took at my hideous smashed
face and took me to the vet. Mom
knew right away that I had been
shot, because she heard you fire.
Dad and the vet weren't convinced
until the X-rays came back They
knew she was right then.,
The vet wasn V real happy. I heard
him tell them to inform Animal
Control and the police. It didn't do
any good, though, because Mom
didn t see you shoot.
I'll be home Monday. I won't be
real handsome anymore, and I'll on
ly be able to dream of hunting; most
of my teeth are gone and I depended
on them for the kill. But I'll be con
tent to lie in the sunshine and enjoy
my life watching my friends hunt
and maybe giving them a few point
I will tell them first off not to hunt
in the woods across from my house
arui not to trust just anyone with a
gun. Some hunters have no respect
for lives, even the lives of other
You know something, Bubba?
Last Thursday your deadly aim
maimed me for life. What will hap
pen when your careless aim maims
or kills an innocent child who may
want to play in or near those woods
on a sunny day?
You're safe for now, Bubba. Only
you and I know for sure who shot
me. Well, I'm sure God knows, too.
And if God knows, how safe are you
Be more careful, Bubba. If you
should hurt someone , you won't be
hunting anymore either, but you
won't be lying in the sun dreaming
of better days either. You 'II be lying
in a cell having nightmares about
what tomorrow will hold in store.
See you around, Bubba. Sweet
Linda Ingram lives in Supply.
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Developing A Course In Reality
This is why I went lo journalism
school? I don't think so.
In the course of three days last
week I covered a birthday party, a
wedding, a homemakers' luncheon,
a Halloween carnival and a horse
shoe-pitching contest. Somewhere
in there I also served as "moderator"
of a meet-the-candidates gathering.
That's a far cry from all those
lofty analyses and hard-hitting in
vestigative pieces on which our es
teemed professors dwelt way back
yonder in the Watergate days. Do
you suppose it never occurred to
them that there were several thou
sand of us journalism students for
every daily newspaper in These
United States, meaning most of us
would necessarily end up working
for rural weeklies, at least until a
nine-to-five job in government or
public relations opened up?
To h<"ar those guys tell it. we pro
fessional journalists would be re
quired to give ourselves body and
soul to our work, the most gratifying
pursuit in the world, where every
day would be fraught with moral
dilemma and every issue would be
an opportunity to reveal some noble
truth to an eager public.
There would be no spouses or
children, weekends or vacations. If
we were truly dedicated, we'd have
no time or need of such frivolity.
There'd be too many planes to
catch, press conferences to attend,
scams to expose, despots to topple.
We'd remain ever objective, tak
ing great pains never to form an
opinion about an issue we were as
signed to cover, never to make
friends with a source, always to ob
serve and never get involved, to
keep a respectable professional dis
Why do you suppose we young
adults with noses for news never
asked ourselves this: If the world of
professional journalism is anything
as action-packed as those guys say it
is, and if they know as much about it
as they say they do. then why are
they content to spend eight hours a
day teaching .us how to draw editing
symbols, sketch out page layouts
and count characters to make head
lines fit (all skills, incidentally,
which computerization has since
rendered utterly obsolete)?
And this: How come they all have
wives and mortgages and take sab
baticals and three-martini lunches?
And this: In order to remain ob
jective all the time, wouldn't you
have to move every week or under
go electroshock therapy or some
About three months after I gradu
ated from journalism school, I ran
into one of my classmates. He had
yearned to be a sports writer and had
the guts to say so in front of those
high-toned professors, who sniffed
that sports had nothing to do with
real news and did everything they
could to discourage and ridicule this
"John, what happened, did you
take a job covering the police beat?"
I asked when we ran into each other
at the sheriff's department. "Nah,
I'm an insurance adjuster," he
replied, looking wistfully off past
my shoulder somewhere as he
added, "You know, in four years of
journalism school, it never occurred
to me that if ! became a sports
writer, I might hate having to work
EVERY night and EVERY weekend
of my life..."
I was lucky. Having been brought
up in a newspaper family, I was
pretty much illusion-proof. I'd been
writing up weddings and taking pic
tures of grammar-school plays for
years and knew that's what I'd prob
ably be going back to. Since then.
I've dropped in an out of the
newswrilinp business several times.
always on a small-town level, never
expecting glitz where there would
inevitably be grind.
But back to last week. Those
small-time assignments included:
? Getting to help Mina Mintz cel
ebrate her 104th birthday at Autumn
Care, surrounded by her family,
friends and fellow residents.
? Watching a young couple from
Pittsburgh exchange wedding vows
on the strand at Holden Beach, and
feeling how much they love each
other and the town where I live.
? Tasting extraordinary goodies
with the Extension Homemakers.
accepting an unexpected certificate
of appreciation for the Beacon, and
hearing Susie Carson tell about local
? Taking pictures of some of the
most imaginative Halloween cos
tumes in the world, surrounded by
grown-ups ? some with no little
children of their own ? who volun
teered their time to make the cele
bration safe and fun.
? Having a small part in helping
the residents of Sunset Beach make
up their minds about how to vote in
their town election.
? Hanging out in a paralyzingly
cold wind with the most committed
of the perennial Festival by the Sea
horseshoe competitors. 1 wouldn't
have missed it.
No. it's not what they taught me
in school. It's not about meeting se
cret sources in dark basements or
having the luxury of spending ten or
15 hours writing a single story.
But it's absolutely about where I
live, how people interact, and what
they care about. And it's real.
Dedicated Teacher Is Appreciated
To the editor:
Many times parents of children in
our public school system have nega
tive comments about different teach
ers, and they don't mind sharing
these comments with family, friends,
co-workers and/or school officials.
Agreed, some comments are justi
fied, and I speak with over 16 years'
experience as a parent of children in
this system. I myself have had a few.
However, for every negative there is
a positive. It is time for the positives
to be heard.
As the mother of a third-grader, I
have another nine-plus years in this
system. In some small way, I hope
this letter will inspire more positive,
appreciative feelings for our teach
I am taking my time (thank you
for letting me take yours) to toot the
horn of Sonya Anderson, third-grade
teacher at Waccamaw Elementary.
My son Christopher missed school
last Thursday and Friday due to ill
ness. Mrs. Anderson called me at
home Friday night to discuss his
health and classwork.
To my knowledge. Mrs. Anderson
teaches a very busy, fast -paced yet
well-managed classroom, and I be
lieve she puts forth 110 percent
teaching ability to see that each
child stays on target. Because of her
dedication to children, 1 believe she
did not want Christopher to be over
loaded this week with an added
make-up agenda. Accordingly, she
went far beyond a teacher's duty to
bring classwork and homework to
Mrs. Anderson, I believe you tru
ly care for the "total child" and for
this, 1 commend you. For personally
bringing Christopher's work to him
on "your" Saturday, I thank you.
And finally, I'll say: For all the
"Sonya Anderson teachers" in our
school system, you are appreciated!
Cecelia B. Gore
' Pathetic Human '
To the editor:
I would like to address this letter
to the person who came into my
yard this past weekend and stole a
shrub I was getting ready to plant.
I want you to know that I am very
angry and upset. What I would like
to know is why you did not take the
eight other shrubs. Did you just need
Whoever you are, you can't have
any morals or you would not have
come as close to my front door as
you did to take something that did
not belong to you. How would you
feel if someone did this to you?
We welcome your letters to the
editor. Letters must include your
address and telephone number.
(This information is for verifica
tion purposes only; we will not
publish your street/mailing ad
dress or phone number.) Letters
must be typed or written legibly.
Address letters to:
The Brunswick Beacon
P.O. Box 2558
Shallotte NC 28459
Anonymous letters will not be
What bothers me most is that you
came during the night while my
family and I were at home. You real
ly are a piece of work. I really feel
sorry for you that you have to steal
shrubbery. You are a pathetic human
Leslie J. Roach
Introducing a new " Limited
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'THE PANSY PATCH"
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